It’s a rare married couple who hasn’t faced the dilemma of Who To Spend The Holidays With. My lovely friend KLZ from Taming Insanity shares her experiences with this dilemma. She writes a very funny blog and she’s one of the wittiest commenters I know. Be sure to check her out after this read.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Which is why it’s somewhat cruel that it’s become an epic nightmare since I’ve gotten married.
To clarify, Halloween with its children wrapped in whimsical costumes, always made me want to have a baby. Christmas is filled with a magic and a majesty that words cannot explain.
But Thanksgiving has always felt like home to me.
Comforting food, enticing aromas, and languid days spent with the ones I love have always made me feel at home.
Since getting married, choosing a place to embrace that feeling of home has become something of a battle.
You see, my husband’s family is Jewish. Mine is Christian. While there are ideological differences, it has made dividing up holidays considerably easier. His parents do not want to host Easter, while my parents aren’t really planning anything for Yom Kippur. Easy peasy.
Thanksgiving, though, everyone celebrates. Instant minefield.
Add to that the fact that his parents are divorced. Bitterly. Growing up, I had friends with divorced parents but never understood the ember of white hot rage that could continue to burn for decades after the marriage was dissolved. Not until I was married and witnessed first hand how bitterly they can still fight. From a far. Through their children.
Plus, David’s sister lives in Portland. His dad and stepmom, Savannah. His grandparents are snowbirds and spend their Thanksgiving in Florida. They all invite us to Thanksgiving. Two of his aunts invite us. His mom in downtown Chicago. My sister’s new husband’s parents? Invited us to Thanksgiving this year.
My parents, not to complicate things, do not invite us. My mom hates cooking. Instead, they plan to go wherever we go. So, wherever we accept? We have to be sure they’re welcome too. Which is a sword of its own. I desperately want my parents to be with us for the holiday. It’s just…somewhat awkward to invite them to someone’s house.
For the past several years, we’ve gone to the same aunt’s house. We all go and it’s turning into a lovely tradition. The food, atmosphere and drinks are divine. And the people we share the day with are incomparable.
The fights with family that lead up to the day? Are a less welcome tradition. Accusations are hurled, we are called names, threats are made towards us. All because of an expectation that we simply cannot meet. Since my teleportation device is not yet finished, we cannot make it to seven parties at once. It’s a shame but it’s true.
How do we get across the fact that every year, from now on, we will be spending the holiday at this same couple’s house? That this is our tradition? That as adults with a family of our own, we do not want to continue to be shuttled around like children of divorce? We want our children to be raised with stability and traditions.
Should I circulate a holiday calendar every January so people know which is theirs? I’m only half joking here. I’m accepting suggestions.
We’re happy to dedicate other holidays to certain family members. Passover with his mom. Rosh Hoshannah with his grandparents. But they don’t care. They all want Thanksgiving. It is the Holy Grail of holidays it seems. Getting Thanksgiving must mean you’ve “won”.
But the truth is, in family, there are no winners. Because it’s not a competition.
Or, it shouldn’t be.
While this stresses us out every year, we will still spend the day itself happily ensconced in the warmth of family.
If you haven’t already…go check out Booyah’s Momma’s post today on being thankful for Those Days.